MIAMI Delta Air Lines has fired the latest shot in the war for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, announcing today it will launch daily nonstop service next spring from to five new destinations. The Atlanta-based carrier has been building up Seattle, the hub and home of Alaska Airlines, as part of an ongoing expansion of its West Coast hub.

The airline is offering the following flights under the Delta Connection brand:

  • Five daily flights to Denver, beginning June 4;
  • Four daily flights to Sacramento, California, beginning May 4;
  • Four daily flights to Boise, Idaho, beginning May 4;
  • One seasonal daily flight to Ketchikan, Alaska beginning May 15; and
  • One seasonal daily flight to Sitka, Alaska beginning May 15.

With these new flights, Delta will serve the top 15 destinations in the Western U.S. and the top five destinations in Alaska. Delta will increase its number of daily flights from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska; Atlanta; Calgary, Alberta; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Francisco and Salt Lake City.

And on December 20, it will begin service from Seattle to Bozeman, Montana; Maui, Hawaii; Palm Springs, California; Phoenix; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Tucson, Arizona. It will also add a second daily flight to Honolulu.

Delta’s Spirit of Seattle Boeing 737. (Credits: Jeremy Dwyer- Lindgren)

Alaska Airlines, along with its regional subsidiary Horizon Air and partners SkyWest Airlines and Pen Air, handles the following daily departures: 242 in Seattle, 62 in the Los Angeles area, 46 in the San Francisco Bay Area, 44 out of Anchorage, Alaska, and 101 out of Portland, Oregon.

The new routes are designed to connect with 10 international flights Delta currently offers out of Seattle, including London heathrow, Seoul, South Korea, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo-Haneda.

Further buttressing its commitment in Seattle, Delta spent $15 million at Seattle-Tacoma, including the Delta Sky Club, recently completed lobby renovations, new gate area power recharging stations, expanded ticket counters and enhancements to the international arrivals area.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 departing from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 departing from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  (Credits: Jeremy Dwyer- Lindgren)

But Alaska Airlines hasn’t taken Delta’s moves lying down. At the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference in March, Alaska Airlines CFO Brandon Pedersen discussed how his carrier will compete on cost, customer service, operational excellence, its strategic airline partnerships and the ability to be nimble as a smaller carrier.

In its 10-Q form released on November 11, Alaska Airlines said it expected its capacity to increase approximately 10 percent in the fourth quarter. In addition to that, competitive capacity is expected to be up approximately 9 percent in the fourth quarter, which will put pressure on its yields and load factors.

“We have made changes to our network to increase the markets served out of Seattle and to redeploy capacity in order to better match demand and optimize revenue,” said the 10-Q. “We believe we are well positioned to compete against these competitive incursions because of our excellent operational performance, our award-winning service, our loyal customer base, and our low cost structure, which allows us to offer low fares.”